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Colin Cochran
Gebert Contemporary, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Recommendation by Iris McLister

Colin Cochran, "Chapel on Tile," 2013, mixed media with oil on gessoed birch wood panel.

Continuing through January 4, 2014

"Matter and Spirit" features just over a dozen paintings by Colin Cochran. Raised on Cape Cod, Cochran is clearly inspired by the outdoors, made clear in his depictions of seagulls and craggy seascapes. This body of work, however, has decidedly Western influences. Cacti and chickens are popular subjects; "Tent Rocks" and desert sunsets will be familiar to any Southwesterner. What’s striking about Cochran’s compositions are their alternately smooth and chunky surfaces — appearances due to more than dense brushstrokes; in most cases, the artist applies gessoed felt to clayboard panels, resulting in unusual textures. His work is figurative, but on the loose end, wherein animals and landscape elements are reduced to their most basic forms. The visceral potential of this technique is marvelously effective when Cochran paints stormy landscapes, whose moody grays and blues feel especially ominous.

Cochran also works on wood, metal, and tile. "Gold Hen" is painted on a modest square of ceramic tile, whose covering of bubbly glaze implies a snow-flecked surface. The titular hen is rendered in jaunty strokes of uniform brown, with barely discernable black eyes. Hasty gray smears form a smudgy halo around the artist’s "White Church in New Mexico," which is foregrounded by a black chicken and a cartoonish green bush. This is modest work that is both pretty and pleasing.

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